Sway Away Set For Preakness
SWAY AWAY SET FOR PREAKNESS
Early on the Triple Crown trail, the bandwagon was building for the California colt Sway Away after he finished a fast-closing second in the Feb. 20 San Vicente, his first start in nearly seven months. But Sway Away ran sixth in the Rebel on his first try going two turns, then fourth in the Arkansas Derby after taking the lead in mid-stretch, and he fell just short of the earnings cutoff for the Kentucky Derby's 20-horse field.
Now the son of 2005 Preakness winner Afleet Alex is looking to make up for that lost opportunity when he takes on Derby winner Animal Kingdom in Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.
'Being 21st on the money list for the Derby was not very exciting,' said part-owner Philip Lebherz. 'I think P. Val [jockey Patrick Valenzuela] moved too early in the Arkansas Derby. We hope Garrett [Gomez, who rode Sway Away in the San Vicente] can be more patient.
'He chipped a knee last summer in the Best Pal, we had to rush to get to the San Vicente, and he was one work short. Jeff [Bonde, his trainer] has done a great job, and we feel he is totally where he has to be.'
Yesterday at Churchill Downs, Sway Away signaled his readiness by working six furlongs in 1:13 3/5, galloping out seven in 1:27 1/5. Previously since shipping to Churchill, he worked six furlongs in 1:14 on April 30 and in 1:11 3/5 on Derby Day.
Derby runner-up Nehro now seems an iffy starter. Last Thursday, Ahmed Zayat, the colt's owner, said he was leaning '51-50' to running in the Preakness rather than waiting for the Belmont, as originally planned.
But yesterday Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen -- who has a confirmed Preakness starter in Astrology -- put a damper on Nehro's trip to Baltimore.
'He came out of the [Derby] well, but he's run three races in six weeks, and he delivered for us in each of them,' Blasi said. 'Now we'd be asking him to come back in just two weeks. It'll probably be a game-time decision.'
At Keeneland yesterday, Flashpoint -- expected to help set the pace in the Preakness -- worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5, in company, for Wesley Ward, who has replaced Rick Dutrow Jr. as the colt's trainer.
Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude, 15th in the Derby, is now listed as probable for the Preakness. Santiva, sixth in the Derby, will not run.
by Ed Fountaine
TwinSpires.com announces Pick 4 bonus at Belmont
TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering company of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), announced Thursday a special promotion for TwinSpires.com customers who enjoy wagering on Belmont Park races.
Every Saturday, beginning May 14 and running through June 4, TwinSpires.com will offer players a 10-percent bonus equal to 10 percent of their gross winnings -- up to a maximum $500 -- when they hit Belmont Park's late Pick 4 wager. The Pick 4 bonus, sponsored by TwinSpires.com, is the latest offer in a series of promotional partnerships between TwinSpires.com and the New York Racing Association (NYRA).
'TwinSpires.com is excited to again work with NYRA and Belmont Park on a wagering promotion that will challenge and reward our TwinSpires.com players,' said Jeremy Clemons, vice president of marketing for TwinSpires.com. 'NYRA racing content is very popular among our customers, and we're pleased to showcase Belmont Park racing with what we believe will be a very popular incentive to play the track's late Pick 4 wager.'
Belmont Park's 2011 Spring/Summer Meet runs through July 31 with the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes (G1), the third jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown, scheduled for June 11.
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